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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

7/8/22 :  Just Sayin

For a player development system repeatedly stated as being void of talent by many this past week certainly has seen contributions from “home grown” players at the major league level.  As the Phillies embark on a lengthy road trip that travels to St Louis, Toronto and Miami eleven of the current twenty five active roster players on the plane that departed to Missouri last evening have spent significant time in the Phillies minor leagues either in portions of this season or elongated endeavors.  When you add Ranger Suarez & Zach Eflin who also are on the trip then just about half of the current player contingent came thru our player development system on a team that’s currently holding down a playoff slot. Just sayin 🤫

With the trade deadline and the draft quickly approaching we’ve noticed an increase in the number of scouts on the backfields.  Four teams were represented yesterday at the Complex, we often spot out scouting acquaintances in the stands behind the plate as we watch affiliate games on MILB TV.  The strength of the organization is pitching albeit there are position players as well who garner scout’s attention.  While statistics are definitely indications of on field performance they don’t tell the entire story in regards to scouting and the evaluation of potential. 

I’ve learned thru my interactions and observations that game performance while important isn’t the entire focus.  Seeing team interaction, bat speed, arm angle, defensive reads, quickness, ball movement, spin, velocity and movement are factors that while measured by data aren’t entirely evident without watching players play.  I often believe I’d have value to a team as a scout - simply because I take note of these items mentally and can link them to the data with the knowledge that development isn’t always indicated by minor league game results or statistics.  From my perspective I believe there are 20 to 25 current players in the system that would warrant consideration as projectable major leaguers in some role.  I also believe that there are more on the verge.  I will never list the names as I know that’s an endeavor on which I don’t wish to debate publicly but if I were employed by a team as a scout I’m pretty sure I could make a compelling case for each player I have in mind - how long have I been touting Darick Hall for instance - just sayin 😎.

Watching as many minor league games as I do there’s no doubt that the harshest playing conditions are the mid afternoon games played in the complex leagues.  The heat is brutal, in Florida adding the humidity makes it somewhat unbearable to watch - we experienced that yesterday and it was a morning game 😳.  The young men who participate in these contests surely earn their keep with hopeful reward down the road if they are assigned to full season rosters which enable them to sleep in a bit rather than early morning report times and play night games instead of mid-days in the sweltering heat.  From my view it makes the heart grow fonder for the prize though as hard work that’s eventually rewarded has no better feeling of accomplishment. Another just sayin 😂.

Just a few random thoughts is all - like Mr. Mattingly said in his recent interview and article written by Mr. Gelb ( the Athletic ) “I feel like I’m the guy that always has to like sell our guys.” - I know the feeling and have been writing in that realm of space since I started my focus on the Phillies player development program some six years ago.  Sometimes it’s exhausting and yes often I get defensive as knowing the players and many of the staff makes it more personal but hey if ya can’t celebrate times like this recent winning series against Washington when it was a regular occurrence that seven of the ten starting slots in the lineup were “homegrown” players then from this fan’s view credit will never be acknowledged- that’s my final just sayin today 🤓.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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